5 Best Vacuum Sealers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
We found the best vacuum sealers for every kind of food storage, plus sous vide cooking.
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Vacuum sealers are great for food storage, sous vide and more. Sarah Holden, culinary producer for Food Network Kitchen, walks you through three of our favorites, above.
Our Top Vacuum Sealer Picks:
- Best Overall: Anova Culinary Precision Vacuum Sealer
- Another Best Overall: NESCO Deluxe Vacuum Sealer with Bag Starter Kit
- Best Budget Buy: GERYON Vacuum Sealer Machine
- Best for Hunters: Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer
- Best for Small Kitchens: ZWILLING Fresh & Save Vacuum Sealer Machine Starter Set
Tested by Stevie Stewart and Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen
Whether you're looking to use a sous vide or make the most of your storage space, a vacuum sealer can come in handy. The best vacuum sealers are simple to use and keep food fresh in your freezer, so it doesn't suffer from freezer burn. You can use a vacuum sealer to store cooked leftovers like chili and pasta, raw meats that you buy in bulk, and even produce. If you're interested in sous vide cooking, you may need to purchase sous vide bags for your vacuum sealer in order to cook using that method. Read on to find out what the best vacuum sealers on the market are and which one is right for you.
This article has been reviewed since its original publish date for accuracy, pricing and availability. We stand by our list of top vacuum sealer picks.
What Is a Vacuum Sealer and Do I Need One?
A vacuum sealer is a machine that removes the air from either a plastic bag or another storage container, and then seals the container to prevent any air from coming in. Vacuum sealing keeps food fresh by removing the oxygen, which bacteria and mold need to grow. It also prevents freezer burn, allowing for frozen items to last longer than if frozen without being vacuum sealed.
Another great use for vacuum sealing is sous vide. Sous vide is a cooking process in which food is vacuum sealed in a bag and then cooked in a water bath to a precise temperature. Sealed completely, the bags do not allow for anything to go in or out of the bags making it the perfect vehicle for this cooking method.
If you are someone looking to prepare meals in advance, cook sous vide or to extend the shelf and frozen life of your food then you may want to consider investing in a vacuum sealer.
Things to Know About Vacuum Sealers
How much space should you be prepared for them to take up? You should be prepared for a vacuum sealer to be about 12 to 14 inches x 4 inches (unless you choose the hand-held Zwilling which is significantly smaller).
What foods do vacuum sealers work best on? Vacuum sealers are great for most foods. Some to avoid would be: garlic, raw mushrooms and soft cheeses which spoil faster when sealed. Brassicae foods like broccoli and cauliflower emit less gas when they are blanched prior to vacuum sealing.
Does wattage matter? The wattage correlates to the suction power of the machine. The Nesco has the most powerful wattage which means the best suction power.
What do vacuum sealers come with? All of the machines we tested provided bags with the vacuum sealer.
Battery operated or electric? Vacuum sealers can be battery-operated or electric. All the vacuum sealers we tested are electric except the Zwilling.
How We Tested
We took into account the size, weight, and price of all the sealers we tested. We also considered the wattage of each machine which indicates the suction power of the vacuum (the machines we tested ranged from 80 to 130 watts). We noted how well the machines functioned and how easy they were to operate. We vacuum sealed blueberries to see how gentle the machines could be when sealing and to test the variety of controls on each model. We vacuum sealed cooked spaghetti and raw chicken breasts and froze them for 3 weeks to check for freezer burn. We thawed the frozen items and checked them for any loss in quality or taste. We also took into account the accessories that were included with each sealer such as bags, rolls and hoses. Every machine came with bags, sealed well and prevented freezer burn so it really came down to ease of use, size, functionality and cost.
Here are the best vacuum sealer models that topped our list.
The Anova is a great option if you are looking for a high quality machine with a little less heft than the Nesco. With a small profile of 15 inches x 4 inches, and weighing just over 2 lbs, the Anova is a petite powerhouse. This model has only 3 buttons (vacuum and seal, seal and pulse vacuum), which make it super intuitive to operate. The Anova and the Nesco were also the only two models we tested with the "pulse" option, which is great for softer food items. The Anova brand is one of the top makers of sous vide machines, so if you're looking for a machine that works well with a sous vide, this model could be best for you.
The Nesco VS-12 had one of the highest vacuum pumps at 130 watts, making it very reliable for removing air from the bags. The Nesco was also one of the only machines that held the roll of bags in the machine itself and had a cutting tool as well. This makes for seamless vacuum and sealing and great for storing the machine and the accessories all in one place. The Nesco model also has the option to pulse when vacuum sealing which allows you to control the pressure of the vacuum. This is great when sealing more delicate items such as softer fruit or pastries. The machine has a handle on front that closes the machine securely and easily while many of the other machines we reviewed were unstable when closed or took multiple tries before closing properly. Lastly, many reviews online show that this machine has a longer lifespan than most other machines out there making it an even more worthy investment!
Not ready to shell out a ton of money on a vacuum sealer but still want to preserve your food? This is a great model to start with.The Geryon comes in at half the price of our top three sealers. The machine is light at just under 3 pounds so it is easy to maneuver. While it may not have been our top-performing machine, it fared well against most of the competitors and has one of the more reasonable price points. It has controls for wet and dry food, a gentle option, and comes with a vacuum bag roll, 5 pre-cut bags and a vacuum hose to use with containers.
The Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer is a great option if you find yourself vacuum sealing on a regular basis (we see you bulk shoppers and avid hunters). Chamber sealers (where the air is removed from the entire chamber, including inside the pouch, creating an equally pressurized environment, both inside and outside of the bag) is already used and loved by professional chef's due to its ability to reliably achieve an efficient, airtight, mess-free seal, even with liquids. And now Anova has created a product for the homecook to achieve the same vacuum seal at home! This vacuum sealer comes with a manual setting, as well as 3 pre-programmed settings, allowing you to do more than just vacuum seal: infuse/extract, compress/pickle and dry/cool. The Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer also comes with 20 sealer bags, and with more available online for purchase. There's even upwards of 15 recipes on Anova's website for this product, so you can jump right into vacuum sealing and pressurized cooking the second you unbox. And while this vacuum sealer is larger and heavier than other models (at about 18 pounds; 13.6 x 11.2 x 8.9 inches), it still easily fits on a kitchen countertop and inside most cabinets and pantries.
The Zwilling Fresh & Save was by far the smallest of the bunch and the only handheld model we tested. If you are short on space or looking for something to use more on occasion, then this is right for you. The sealer is rechargeable thanks to the USB cable, so it makes it a cinch to use anywhere without worrying about space. It comes with two different-sized bags as well as a glass storage container which is dishwasher safe. While it may not come with all the settings the larger machines provide, it’s pint sized, quiet and uses just one button to operate making it a wonderful choice for the novice sealer.